National Cyber Security Awareness Month: Here's what you can do today

First celebrated in October 2004 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cybersecurity Alliance, the National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) is now a 16-year long tradition. The theme for 2019 is ‘Own IT. Secure. IT. Protect IT.’

Awareness is about interacting, educating, and appealing to masses to adopt standard practices and sharing prevention tips on a critical subject. Everyone today who has access to the internet, has experienced at least one incident of cybercrime. So, an awareness program must go beyond the organization drills to as many people as possible.

It’s in the theme

NCSAM theme for 2019 aims to encourage personal accountability and proactive behavior in digital privacy, spreading security best practices, tackling common cyber threats, and promoting cybersecurity careers. It emphasizes the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity at home and in the workplace.

It is important to understand what information to disseminate and how to reach the right audience. Heré’s what an individual or an organization can choose to do.

At a personal level, one can educate their family, friends or community about:

  • How their actions can inadvertently help cybercriminals
  • Protecting their own devices by regularly updating to the latest security software
  • Strong passwords and multi-factor authentication
  • Cyberbullying and other most common cyber threats
  • How to handle calls, text, emails from scammers
  • Signs of hacks and actions to perform when you suspect a hack
  • Cybersecurity as a career option

Besides the aforementioned key points, the organizational level activities can focus on:

  • Executives' awareness of rising cyber risks
  • BYOD guidelines for cybersecurity and personal device protection
  • Cybersecurity awareness with new technology initiatives
  • Offering cybersecurity professionals the training they need
  • Zero Trust principles

If you are an individual who wants to contribute to the awareness program, staysafeonline.org lists more ways to get involved and educate everyone around us on cybersecurity.